Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Stopping to Smell the Roses

“I arrange still lifes of my painted constructions
into different configurations that suggest landscape,
which I then examine from different vantage points.
Rema Ghuloum

For the first generation Arab/American artist Rema Ghuloum the slowing down of the hectic pace of the 21st Century is an essential aspect of her image making.

As she noted in the Artistic Statement for her 2010 grant award from the Joan Mitchell FoundationWalking in urban and natural environments becomes a vehicle for focus and observation. The everyday experience of noticing informs my process of making. I have created strategies for making paintings out of the act of recalling visual observations from everyday experience.”

Although Gholoum has traveled to India and South America, both of which have had an effect upon her work, it is the streets of her home town, Los Angeles, which provides the major stimulus for her work.  

As told the Easy Reader News “I make work that responds to my external and internal environment. I find myself examining things that I detect around my Los Angeles studio that usually may go unnoticed such as the way cardboard and foam can be found stacked precariously on the sides of streets or the way in which old bed frames are left leaning against buildings. I often find inspiration in the way graffiti on the facades of buildings is painted out in shades that differ slightly from the original hue, creating subtle shifts of color. I enjoy how this tendency reflects traces of history through a canceling out of pre-existing marks and how the colors of those walls shift with the light throughout the day. I consider how these types of observations can be translated into my work.”

Ghuloum’s abstraction of these impressions can work exceeding well as in Light, 15th and Harrison at 3pm (see above) about which the LA Times’ Leah Ollman wrote “a potent little canvas of warm greenish-gold abutting deep aqua and dark blue-violet, the record — and evocation — of a radiant moment.”

I attempt to unify forms and apply more stress on spatial contrasts by layering and excavating each painted surface. Color and material constraints control this process and arriving at a painting is as important as the finished product,” Ghuloum says.

Ghuloum’s current exhibition A sky with Edges is on show at Los Angeles’ Sonce Alexander Gallery until the 17th of October.

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